With just five games left, it looks as if Wolverhampton Wanderers' campaign will end in failure.

Nothing less than the play-offs was ever going to be good enough for Glenn Hoddle or the Molineux regulars this season. And, barring an unlikely turnaround in the Championship table that would involve Preston North End collapsing spectacularly, Wolves will fall short.

Though the Molineux board will not be too happy about it either if Wolves are to spend another season at this level, they remain fully supportive of Hoddle for now.

In response to a story in a national tabloid yesterday morning suggesting that Wolves are already lining up a summer replacement, chief executive Jez Moxey rapped out a firm denial.

"Absolute rubbish, simple as that," said Moxey. "I'm disappointed that anyone should run speculative and inaccurate stories like this.

"Our attention is focused purely on our five remaining games, as we're still in with a chance of reaching the playoffs, and that's the only thing exercising our minds at the moment."

Chief bone of contention within Molineux's corridors of power was the reported inference that Hoddle's contract runs out this summer. But the manager himself was quick to pour even greater scorn on such speculation by highlighting this error.

"There's no story in that story," he said. "And they've got their facts wrong. I'm on a rolling one-year contract, which doesn't end this summer, so that tells you how much they know.

"These sort of stories just do not concern me. My main concern is Saturday's game against Coventry City. We've not given up the fight, nor will we until it's mathematically impossible. If we get the win, and Preston slip up, who knows?"

Hoddle is not helped by the loss of suspended top scorer Kenny Miller for tomorrow's contest at Molineux.

Bookings in three successive matches have taken him to ten for the season and left him with a two-match ban ahead of this weekend's annual 'amnesty'.

Wolves have also been left reeling by confirmation of Gabor Gyepes' cruciate knee ligament damage.

The Hungary international underwent surgery on Wednesday, with Hoddle revealing: "It was a very serious operation. But, although we still don't know how long he'll be out, anything between six to 12 months, I understand it all went well."

Having brought back Jody Craddock, perhaps prematurely, against Plymouth Argyle to fill the void left by Gyepes, Hoddle has more defensive posers this week over Lee Naylor and Jackie McNamara. While Naylor is set to return at left-back in place of last weekend's debutant Daniel Jones, it may still be too soon for Celtic target Jackie McNamara.

"Lee's shown no adverse reaction after two days' training," said Hoddle. "But, although Jackie Mac's had three and a bit reserve games, when someone's been out as long as he has, you can run the risk of bringing them back a little bit too quick. We're going to have to wait a little longer."

Hoddle is also hoping that his skipper, 38-year-old Paul Ince, can overcome a heavy cold to set up an intriguing midfield confrontation with former England colleague and fellow warhorse, 39-year-old Dennis Wise.

"It just shows what you can do with a bit of nous," said Hoddle. "They're two very experienced players still playing at this level, which is a credit to themselves and to their love of the game.

"If they both play, it will be interesting to watch."

Coventry assistant manager Adrian Heath was equally diplomatic about this expected clash of these two still ultra-competitive Londoners. "They've locked horns a number of times over the years so they'll know what to expect," said Heath. "Each one will know what's coming!"